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HindustanTimes Sun,28 Dec 2014

Slippery TV soaps and saas-bahus

Dr (Maj) Ankur Malhotra, Hindustan Times   April 24, 2013
First Published: 22:14 IST(24/4/2013) | Last Updated: 09:17 IST(25/4/2013)

If you wish to travel back in time into the Stone Age, the surest way is to watch TV soaps. Prepare yourself for a cultural shock as you are transported into the fairytale land of sari-clad 'abla naris' and their humbled spouses dressed in 'kurta-pajama'. Their plastic smiles, elastic expressions, over-smeared 'sindoor', palatial homes, costly designer saris, antique jewellery and chauffeur-driven sedans leave common people wonderstruck.

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But the real backbone of these operas are the still-stereotypical 'saaas-bahus', though the 'saas-bahu' relationship has evolved over the years. In fact, it has become more modern, sophisticated, chic and suave. Mom-in-laws (MILs) of the 21st century are no longer sari-clad and 'bhakti'-loving whose terrifying stare instantly sends shivers down the spine of the poor daughter-in-law (DIL) and reminds her of the cruel Lalita Pawar. MILs today are moving with the times .They can be spotted in jeans, fiddling with their smartphones or updating their Facebook accounts on I-pad. Facials, facelifts, rebounding hair, laser skin treatments and Botox are common pastimes of these once-dreaded species. With all these activities, who can imagine that there will be any time left for them to hatch conspiracies against their poor little DILs.

Modern DILs have to really hone their soft skills even before thinking of entering a wedlock. They have to take special classes in computer hacking if they want to match their competent MILs in cyberspace. DILs must be able to install a lethal virus or spyware on their MIL's computer if she needs some 'chain ki neend'. Exceptional soft skills are a must if she wants easy access to the anti-'bahu' gossip being discussed on the MIL's Facebook wall.

But our much-loved soaps are still projecting 'saas-bahus' all decked up in heavy saris, wearing tons of 'sindoor' and makeup and wasting their precious time and energy in preparing multiple cuisines in their plush kitchens. How on earth can one accept this wrong projection and give these serials thumping TRPs. Modern DILs and MILs are an extinct species in kitchen. Their real skill lies in ordering food over the phone and downloading e-vouchers of various deals of pizzas, pastas and burgers. Their managerial skills are put to good use giving instructions to maids, grocers and milkmen .Their IT skills come handy while downloading homework for kids, Googling new exotic recipes, watching missed episodes of serials on YouTube, tagging pictures of their recent trips on Facebook and tweeting about kitty parties. With e-commerce sites like eBay and Flipkart gaining popularity, DILs and MILs are busy ordering dresses, shoes, cosmetics, perfumes, watches, purses… The list is endless.

With so much happening around, who needs to conspire and strategise standing in the kitchen, burning precious LPG and wasting even more precious time on trivial and frivolous issues .It's my sincere request to the likes of Ekta Kapoor to make changes in TV soaps and project modern-day 'saas-bahus' in an avant-garde avatar. Please don't transport us to the prehistoric times.

ankurdoc32@gmail.com

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